, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 365-371

Recurrent genital herpes and quality of life in France

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Abstract

Recurrent genital herpes is an incurable disease that may give rise to considerable psychological disturbance. This paper describes the impact of the disease on quality of life in a French population. The population study was also used to provide additional validation data for the French version of the RGHQoL (the Recurrent Genital Herpes Quality of Life) measure. The content of the RGHQoL was derived from patient interviews in the UK. The measure was then developed and tested simultaneously in several countries, including France. Statements in the measure were translated into French by a bilingual panel and then by a lay panel. Field-testing in France took place with 15 patients who judged the instrument to be relevant and easy to complete. The final version of the questionnaire was assessed for reliability and construct validity. The measure was found to have good test–retest reliability (0.94) and internal consistency (0.93) as assessed by Cronbach's alpha. The French RGHQoL was then used with 150 herpes patients obtained from a general population sample. A majority of the respondents completed all questions, indicating a high level of acceptability. Quality of life was found to be lowest in the under 25-year-olds and in those respondents who were most psychologically and sexually disturbed by their outbreaks and found it difficult to discuss the problem with their partner. It is concluded that the French version of the RGHQoL is an acceptable, reliable and valid instrument and that the measure provides valuable information about the impact of the disease.